4 Potential Deals Mike Rizzo Should Propose at the Deadline
With nearly a quarter of the 2014 Major League Baseball season expired, the Washington Nationals sit two games over .500 and in second place in the National League East.
The good news, despite trailing the Atlanta Braves, is that the Nationals' deficit in the division is just 1.5 games.
Washington has seen the recent effects of losing major contributors to injuries, including a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics and six losses in nine games.
With Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and, now, Adam LaRoche out of commission, manager Matt Williams is at his wit's end attempting to put a product on the field that can be competitive despite being shorthanded.
Nevertheless, for all Washington has been through, it's not all bad, and the brightest days are likely ahead. Although, there are some areas that need to be shored up before the trade deadline to give the Nationals their best chance going forward.
Outfielder Nate McLouth to Chicago Cubs
After only a quarter of a season in Washington, it wouldn't be fair to call the Nate McLouth experience a failure, but it's not headed in the right direction.
An everyday starter for the better part of his 10-year career, the former Baltimore Oriole had to accept the difficult role of coming off of the bench behind a stud outfield that includes Denard Span and former All-Stars Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth.
McLouth has just four hits and has struck out 13 times in 51 at-bats. A move to somewhere like Chicago, a team in need of a reliable veteran outfielder, could be just what he needs to get back on track.
Arodys Vizcaino is a guy who's floated around the minor leagues and is currently a prospect for the Cubs. The right-handed relief pitcher might be an option for a team with a solid bullpen that could always use more arms in the future.
LHP Ross Detwiler to Houston Astros
Ross Detwiler has endured a tumultuous tenure in his time with the Nationals. He's seen just about everything, from the starting rotation to the bullpen to the minor leagues.
Unfortunately for the 28-year-old southpaw, like McLouth, Detwiler's usefulness in his new role is not quite what Williams was expecting.
While acknowledging that the former first-round pick is one of just two lefties in the pen, Detwiler has surrendered 21 hits and 13 runs in 18.0 innings pitched. Further, he has the second-highest WHIP among Nationals pitchers at 1.78.
Detwiler can help Washington, but if Williams insists on keeping him out of the starting rotation, he may not be able to reach his full potential this season. Further, Detwiler becomes arbitration eligible in 2015.
A trade to somewhere like Houston might be a good change of scenery for Detwiler. The Astros currently own a team ERA of 4.82—last in the majors.
Outfielder/1B Tyler Moore to Astros
For the time being, primarily due to the absences of Harper and LaRoche, Tyler Moore's job may be safe, but his days in Washington are still numbered.
With the inevitable move of Ryan Zimmerman to first base and talented young players and prospects, Moore may become expendable at some point in the near future.
Out of all Nationals position players, Moore has the second-highest strikeout-to-at-bat ratio on the team, getting fanned 13 times in 37 at-bats (35.1 percent).
Houston might be the ideal destination for Moore to hook back up with former Nationals third base coach Bo Porter.
If Detwiler and Moore were to be shipped out together, it could potentially be a deal that could bring in a player like Alex Presley. Despite hitting only .226 through the early going, Presley is an experienced outfielder who's experienced moderate success in the past and could potentially supply depth to a beleaguered outfield.
2B Danny Espinosa to the Miami Marlins
After a rough 2013 campaign in which Danny Espinosa saw action in just 44 big league games, the former third-round pick has rebounded nicely in 2014.
Espinosa has returned to his normal self, maintaining a batting average around .240 with five home runs and nine RBI. The emergence of young up-and-comer Anthony Rendon, however, makes Espinosa expendable.
Once Ryan Zimmerman returns, Espinosa will likely revert back to coming off of the bench. His successful 2011 and 2012 campaigns make him a reasonable commodity for teams looking for a serviceable middle infielder.
A team like the Miami Marlins may be in the hunt for a solid middle infielder. For Espinosa's value, the Nationals could get someone like Grant Dayton—a left-handed pitching prospect with good fastball velocity and a fairly extensive repertoire. Young second base prospect Austin Barnes may be an option as well.
All stats acquired via Baseball-Reference.com